ServeNext.org Blog

Learn and Serve America Facing Elimination

Posted by Zach Maurin on April 14, 2011

Update: According to the Corporation for National and Community Service via a public conference call this week, the $12.5 million cut to the programs funded through the Domestic Volunteer Service Act, which funds the Senior Corps and VISTA, will come from RSVP.

Original post:

The budget compromise between the House, Senate, and White House for FY2011 was, overall, pretty good.  But not great: AmeriCorps has been cut by $23 million from FY10 funding (which is also $138 million less than the President requested) and we’ve heard some indication of cuts to RSVP and VISTA (details not yet clear).  These cuts are not the right decision when service is such a sound investment in a time of so much need.

An additional cut is extremely disheartening: the complete defunding of Learn and Serve America that enables students to serve and improve educational outcomes.  Below is a message from the leaders at the National Service-Learning Partnership with actions that need attention today.  Elimination of Learn and Serve this year makes it very unlikely it will return next year.  Here are the key details:

Learn and Serve America has been slated for elimination as part of the
Fiscal Year 2011 budget deal negotiated by the White House and the
Congress. As you know, Learn and Serve America is a program of the
Corporation for National and Community Service and is the ONLY federal
funding source dedicated to investing in service-learning in our
nation’s schools and communities.This is devastating news. This
decision will drastically erode—if not completely dismantle—the
support system for service-learning that exists in most states and, to
some extent, local schools and communities as well.

While the topline budget numbers are final, the Corporation for
National and Community Service may have some discretion to identify
some funds within its budget to continue modest support for
service-learning in Fiscal Year 2011. Our opportunity to save funding
for service-learning is a long shot, but possible. It is essential
that White House and Obama Administration officials hear from us as
soon as possible. If funding for service-learning is totally
eliminated from the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, the chance of restoring
funding for service-learning in the future will be almost impossible.

Take action to make a difference for the future of service-learning
funding today:

1. SIGN-ON. Add your school or organization’s name to the list of
organizations speaking out against the elimination of Learn and Serve
America. Sign-on to this letter by close of business Friday, April 15.

–Download the letter here:
http://www.service-learningpartnership.org/site/DocServer/SaveLearnandServeSign-On.pdf?docID=4361
–Click
here to add your school or organization’s name to this letter:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9FCQ3YG

2. CALL THE WHITE HOUSE. We must raise our voices. The White House is
now tallying the calls received on various issues. We need to register
at least 250-500 phone calls to bring Learn and Serve America to the
attention of key White House staff and officials.

–Download the suggested talking points to use when calling the White
House: http://www.service-learningpartnership.org/site/DocServer/SLU-WhiteHouseTalkingPoints.pdf?docID=4362
–Dial
1-202-456-1111. Select option 1 to connect to the Comment Line.
–Use the suggested talking points to make the case for continued
funding for service-learning. You will speak to a live operator who
will type your remarks for White House staff.
–After calling the White House, email sladvocate@gmail.com to let us
know you made the call for service-learning. It is important that we
track the number of calls being made to the White House on behalf of
service-learning.

If you have trouble with the weblinks, all of this information is
located at www.servicelearningunited.org

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